TNI-Valiosys, a French provider of system-design solutions forembedded and real-time applications, has enhanced its CosiMateco-simulation tool for system-level mechatronics simulations. Thelatest version provides access to a range of features for engineerswho want to simulate their heterogeneous models at system-level.
“With the growing complexity of automotive systems, such as theX-by-wire technology, system integration of software, hardware, andmechanical compounds is becoming more and more challenging.Particularly, the design of complex systems may require thecooperation of several teams belonging in different expertise domainsusing different development and validation tools. Automotive systemengineers today crucially need to validate the whole system'sbehaviour, at different abstraction levels, prior to implementationof any of its parts.” commented David Penez, TNI-Valiosys automotivemarketing manager.
In contrast to a point-to-point solution, where a simulator isprogrammed to uniquely dialogue with another simulator, TNI-Valiosys'CosiMate uses an open architecture based on a co-simulation bus. Thissolution provides two advantages:
- an open architecture enabling multi-point integration andcommunication of heterogeneous simulators,
- the ability to simulate models across the network optimisingCPU usage and simulation performance – see figure 1.
Fig 1: Cosimate architecture
“The cosimulation bus is a new concept for a commercial softwaretool. It frees engineers from being tied to particular simulationenvironments. CosiMate is completely vendor neutral, helping toextend the lifetime of models,” said Thierry Cambois, mechatronicgroup manager in the IT department at PSA-Peugeot-Citröen.
CosiMate's open architecture enables engineers to connect anunlimited number of simulation environments together. Once theco-simulation process is launched, users can interact with the nativesimulators transparently, just as if CosiMate were not present.
The entire system's behaviour can be validated early in thedevelopment cycle prior to implementation of any of its parts. Modelsat different abstraction levels can be mixed and matched, providing ahigh degree of flexibility while at the same time ensuring theoverall system's quality.
“Using CosiMate, we were able to very quickly connect Saber,Simulink and AMESim models together for a complete system simulation.Performance results were extremely good”, addedCambois.
CosiMate can also be used for fine tuning of system parameters. Inthis case, engineers can design their own Graphical User Interface(GUI), connect it to the co-simulation bus, and tune the systemwithout specially knowing the design in details. Such a GUI, provideddirectly from Simulink or developed with C or LabVIEW, can also beused as a demonstrator for clients – see figure 2.
Fig 2: Example with a graphical user interface
“By connecting one or several simulation environments togetherwith a test and measurement tool, such as LabVIEW, LabWindows CVI, orany other C environment, engineers can interactively validate andtune their models directly in the vehicle. This solution isindependent from the measurement HW and SW, and from the hostembedded PC. It also provides access to a large number of inputs andoutputs.” said Giang Nguyen, TNI-Valiosys vice-president of marketing- see figure 3.
Fig 3: In-vehicle interactive model validation
Another CosiMate advantage is to help preserve past investments inmodels development. Suppose a significant number of models have beendeveloped for a simulation environment which has been commerciallydiscontinued. A new simulator is chosen. The issue is, will there befull compatibility between the old models and the new simulator? Orwill all the old models need to be rewritten, increasing theproject's costs, delays and risks? CosiMate provides a solutionenabling designers to keep all existing models in the oldenvironment, and use CosiMate to plug-in the new simulator togetherwith the old one &endash; see figure 4.
Fig 4: Using CosiMate to support an obsoleteenvironment
A networked architecture
“During the evaluation, we came across a new application: useCosiMate to connect and simulate several Simulink models together.Very easy to set up, this multi-solver, multi-step approach helpedproduce significant gains in simulation time for our vehicle models”,said Cambois.
Indeed, CosiMate's networked architecture is well adapted to acontext of multi-disciplininary development teams (internal teams orshared between manufacturers and suppliers). By its networked nature,CosiMate also supports the study of system behaviour in a multitasking mode by splitting the model and distributing the simulationof the various parts on several different machines &endash; seefigure.5.
Fig 5: A Simulink/Simulink networkedcosimulation
A number of environments and operating systems are supported :
- Matlab/Simulink (The Mathworks)
- AMESim (Imagine)
- COSSAP (Synopsys)
- Saber (Avant!)
- SDL (Telelogic)
- VHDL / Verilog (Mentor Graphics, Cadence, Synopsys).
Other types of simulators can be included by TNI-Valiosys atcustomers requests as long as an application programming interface(API) is provided by the tool.
CosiMate is available for Microsoft Windows NT/2000, Sun Solaris,and HP-UX. The company can provide a range of consultancy, trainingand support services.
TNI-Valiosys provides a comprehensive set of software and hardwaresystem design solutions to enable designers of embedded and real-timeapplications in aerospace, automotive, semi-conductor,telecommunications and industrial automation to build bettersystem-level models and implementations of their electronic productsin less time.
TNI-Valiosys has resulted from recent mergers between three Frenchhigh-tech companies : Valiosys, formal verification specialist;Arexsys, system-level modelling expert; and TNI, supplier of SWdesign tools for real-time embedded systems. TNI-Valiosys is financedby venture capital.
It employs 90 people at its headquarters and R&D facilities inFrance, and has a network of direct sales in Europe and localrepresentatives in North America and Taiwan.